Op-Ed: Unarmed, endangered

March 22, 2005
Cleveland Plain Dealer

By Philip Morris

Lil' Ray, we are often warned, should be considered armed and dangerous. Dizzy, we're told, is known to shoot first and ask questions later.

Sometimes they just shoot because "they crazy like that" and the spinning rims on your late-model used car happen to catch their eye.

It's nothing personal.

They should be avoided, of course. But the question is, how? How do you avoid these thugs if they choose to live, hang out or sell crack in your neighborhood? How do you ask the local thug to lower the volume on his car stereo, because your third-grader can't sleep on a school night?

Or, perhaps most important, how do you take proactive steps to protect yourself or your family when you are suddenly and aggressively sized up as possible prey? How do you not become a passive victim?

Since the passing of Ohio's concealed-carry law, tens of thousands of Ohioans have applied for and received permits to carry concealed weapons in public. Fear of victimization undoubtedly drives many of our law-abiding neighbors to secretly carry weapons in public. They want a fighting chance, and I have no problem with that. It can be defended as rational. The following questions, however, continue to trouble me:

Exactly what is a proper response to irrational and criminal provocation if you yourself are an ex-offender? How do you protect what is important, when your past criminal conduct prevents you from possessing a firearm, even though you are rehabilitated, employed and serving as a deacon in your church?

How do you increase your odds of survival in a high-crime area without an equalizer?

Click here to read the entire op-ed in the Cleveland Plain Dealer.

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